Empowering Futures: A day in the life of a SEND teaching assistant

Empowering Futures: A Day in the Life of a SEND Teaching Assistant

Working as a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) teaching assistant is a rewarding and dynamic role that demands patience, creativity, and dedication. Every day brings new challenges and triumphs as SEND TAs work to support students with diverse needs, ensuring they receive the education and care they deserve.

Brenden Ardestani is a senior consultant at Pertemps Education. When he’s asked about introducing candidates to SEND roles, almost the first thing he’ll mention is ‘fit’. “Learning difficulties manifest in all sorts of unique shapes and sizes”, he says. “Just as it’s crucial to find the ideal place for a pupil with additional needs, each setting has a clear idea of what’s required to be successful when supporting their students.”

So many of the candidates I come across are passionate about the opportunity to literally change the lives of the young people in their care, and that’s really exciting.

“A thick skin is useful”, Branden continues: “especially when you’re experiencing behaviours that can seem hostile. Nevertheless, working with SEND specialists has been mind-opening and nothing less than a privilege,” Branden says. “Some of these roles might not ‘educate’ in exactly the way that most that most people are used to, but so many of the candidates I come across are passionate about the opportunity to literally change the lives of the young people in their care, and that’s really exciting”.

Morning Routine

The day begins with preparation. Arriving early, SEND TAs review the day’s lesson plans and adapt materials to suit individual pupils’ needs. This might involve creating visual aids, organising sensory activities, or setting up communication devices. These adaptations are crucial for helping students engage with the curriculum and develop their skills.

Classroom Support

As students arrive, the focus shifts to providing in-class support. SEND TAs work closely with teachers, assisting in delivering lessons and managing classroom behaviour. They often work one-on-one or in small groups, ensuring each student understands the material and can participate in activities. This personalised attention helps build confidence and fosters a sense of achievement in students.

Break and Lunchtime Activities

During breaks and lunchtimes, SEND TAs supervise and engage students in structured play and social activities. These times are essential for developing social skills and providing a break from the academic demands of the classroom. SEND TAs ensure these periods are safe and enjoyable, often using games and activities to encourage interaction and teamwork.

Afternoon Sessions

The afternoon might include more specialised support, such as therapy sessions or life skills training. SEND TAs play a critical role in these activities, working with speech therapists, occupational therapists, and other specialists to provide targeted interventions. These sessions help students develop crucial skills for independence and daily living.

End of Day Reflection

As the school day ends, SEND TAs document student progress and reflect on the day’s successes and challenges. They communicate with teachers and parents, providing updates and discussing strategies for continued support. This collaboration ensures a cohesive approach to each student’s education and well-being.

Working as a SEND Teaching Assistant is more than a job; it’s a commitment to making a difference. By empowering students with the support they need, SEND TAs help shape brighter futures, one day at a time.


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